Freddie Bryant has great musical genes. His mother was an opera singer and his father a pianist. He studied both classical and jazz composition and music and impressively graduated summa cum laude from Amherst College. He also holds a master's degree from the Yale School of Music and studied with acclaimed jazz guitarists Sal Salvador and Ted Dunbar. Bryant is one of those who manages to successfully combine the discipline of classical training with the more freewheeling improvisation of jazz. On this album of Brazilian and new age rhythms, there is a sense that while Bryant is reaching more toward the jazz side of background, he can't (and probably shouldn't) abandon his classical roots. On his own compositions, like "Eyes Across the Ocean," one hears the delicacy of Frederick Delius' "On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring." There's no indication whether that link is deliberate, but it's there regardless. The classical background comes to the fore on Horace Silver's "Peace" and Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Por Toda Minha Vida." But this is not a classical album in a jazz wrapping. Listen to the group's performance of Miles Davis' "Solar," more than eight minutes of a thorough exploration, with Brazilian beat, and the plaintive improvisation above the melody on "You Don't Know What Love Is." Both electric and acoustic guitar are represented, with emphasis on the latter. Bryant's technique speaks for itself as he manages to avoid those annoying pings that often clutter up acoustic guitar performances.
Bryant's cohorts in this his third album as a leader are fully supportive. Reed players Chris Cheek and Steve Wilson stay with the program, fitting in with the state of serenity created by Bryant's guitar. One hears Edsel Gomez's piano, but it does not dominate. The rhythm section of Avishai Cohen, Jordi Rossy, and Gilad makes a major contribution to this album's success, handling the sometimes tricky rhythmic patterns with ease. All in all, the music on this album is peaceful, introspective and fresh -- and recommended.